Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir, by Cyndi Lauper & Jancee Dunn. Atria Books, 2012

Cyndi Lauper’s autobiography begins with her running away from home to escape her step-father the sexual predator. Things don’t get much better for her for quite some time- some truly horrific things happen to her on her way to success. And success is illusive- for all Lauper’s hard work, hit records, and Grammy nominations, she has never become as rich and famous as one would think she should be.

Recognition didn’t come to Lauper until she was thirty. Through her twenties, she worked menial jobs, sang in cover bands, and was never taken seriously, even by her own band mates- she was even sexually assaulted by some of them. She gave free rein to her eccentric style (which has been copied endlessly) and didn’t pull any punches about what she thought, and these habits didn’t endear her to record execs. And so much of the time, she just has had plain bad luck. It’s not that she is blaming fate for her own short fallings; she readily admits when she screws up. This woman never stops working, and, I suspect, never will. Her creative force is just too strong. She describes how she works, and it’s remarkable how she dissects music and puts it back together in new ways.

The book is written like you’re sitting down with Lauper, listening to her tell her story. She narrates with an immediacy that puts you right in the scene. She also digresses like she were sitting in front of you talking. This is not a dry, moment by moment biography! I highly recommend this if you’re a fan. 

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